WITH many 14-counts North would be strong enough to raise 2S to 4S. Here the queen of diamonds was likely to be a wasted card. North held only three-card trump support too, so he decided to make a minimum raise. Take the East cards now and consider your defence. Partner leads the two of diamonds, which you can tell is a singleton, and dummy plays low. How will you defend? You win with the ten of diamonds and cash the diamond ace. Your king of trumps is a third trick for the defence. How can you find a fourth trick? It is just about possible that West holds the king of hearts. A heart switch cannot prosper in that case however, because declarer would hold A-x, A-x in hearts and clubs and would be able to throw his heart loser. A better idea is to aim for two defensive trump tricks. You play a third round of diamonds and West ruffs with the six, forcing dummy’s ace of trumps. Declarer plays three rounds of clubs, throwing his remaining diamond. When a second trump is led, you rise with the king and play a fourth round of diamonds. It gives a ruff-and-discard, yes, but more importantly it promotes West’s jack of trumps. One down!

Your side is vulnerable and partner opens with a pre-emptive 3D. 

What will you bid? 

The hand comes from a recent international match. Partner’s vulnerable pre-empt suggests a respectable suit and you should raise to 5D. You hope to make six trump tricks, four top winners in your hand and an extra black-suit trick. Note that it would be a poor idea to bid 3NT instead. If partner held something like K-Q-J-x-x-x-x in diamonds, the defenders would hold up the ace and you would score only one diamond trick.

Awards: 5D — 10, 3NT – 5, 4D or pass – 3.

David Bird — Knight Features